Jimmie Johnson remembers ‘free spirit’ brother-in-law who died last week

Jimmie Johnson described his brother-in-law, who died in a skydiving accident last weekend, as a “free spirit” who never met a stranger.

Jordan Janway, 27, a skydiving instructor, died Sunday in San Diego after he was knocked unconscious in a collision with another diver and his chute failed to deploy. He was the brother of Johnson’s wife, Chandra.

“Basejumping, parachuting, wearing the squirrel suits like you see the guys doing on the cliff sides — that’s what he did,” Johnson said. “He was doing something he loved. He was very passionate about it. Never met a stranger. Very warm, caring young man. He’s definitely going to be missed.”

Johnson, who will run in the Duck Commander 500 on Sunday, said he has finally turned to thoughts about racing after a difficult time.

“It’s been tough for me to sit back and watch the people I love so much deal with so much pain,” he said. “But things are progressing, and everybody is as good as you could hope. Last night, the family spent a lot of time telling stories about Jordan and smiling a little bit. The healing process has definitely started.”

Johnson offered thanks for the support.

“Thank you sponsors, fans, friends, everybody involved,” he said. “The few times I did check into social media, there’s just been a huge outpouring of support. I’m very thankful.”

Tire confidence

Goodyear said it doesn’t believe the teams will experience the tire problems they did in California two weeks ago.

Greg Stucker, director of tire sales, said the teams will use the Dual Zone tire — with tougher compound on the inside shoulder but more tractable on the outside, to keep grip — which was used with good results last year at Atlanta and Kansas, ovals similar to Texas.

“Based on the results we saw Thursday, two Nationwide practices, we feel very good,” he said. “We have a lot of confidence going into this weekend.”

Practice penalty

NASCAR penalized 12 Sprint Cup teams for being late to inspection last week at Martinsville, docking them 15 minutes of practice time Friday. Former TMS winners Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth were among the penalized teams.

NASCAR competition official Robin Pemberton said the schedules are more structured in inspection this year and that NASCAR is trying to maintain fairness.

Practice was 110 minutes Friday.

Schedule quirk

The switch of the Sprint Cup race from Saturday night to Sunday, as a courtesy to race fans who also want to watch the Final Four, resulted in a change of the standard practice and qualifying schedule.

Instead of practicing and qualifying Friday for a Saturday race, TMS moved qualifying to Saturday to give that day some action. But now, it means that the teams’ race data and the race day are 48 hours apart.

“The weather on Sunday looks like it’s going to be cloudy, overcast and cold. It’s going to be completely different,” Kyle Busch said. “So you just try to do the best you can with what you’ve got. You’ve got to set up for the conditions you’re in and then you go into what’s going to happen with the race.”

Been there

Joey Logano said his teammate, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch will figure out a way to get past their feud from last week at Martinsville.

“At least it’s not me this time,” said Logano, who has had spats with Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart in the past three seasons. “It happens. I know it. We race against each other every week, and eventually we’re gonna get aggravated with each other. It’s just how you reason with it and how you get over it.

“Those two guys are championship race car drivers. They’ll figure out a way to get over it and move on here fairly shortly. But that’s part of our sport, and it’s cool.”

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